fascism


fascism
  ---- by John Protevi
  In Anti-Oedipus, the pole of paranoid desire is opposed to schizophrenic or revolutionary desire. Perhaps we owe the impression that a major focus of Anti-Oedipus is fascism to Michel Foucault's preface to the English translation, in which he calls the text 'An Introduction to the Non-Fascist Life' (D&G 1983: xiii). But in fact historical manifestations of fascism - as Foucault acknowledges - are explicitly addressed in Anti-Oedipus relatively infrequently. Despite the lack of attention to historical fascism, Deleuze and Guattari's critique of analyses of fascism in terms of ideology is important. Rather than being the result of fooling people by false consciousness, fascist desire has its own proper consistency, and spreads under certain social, economic and political conditions. Roughly speaking, in Anti-Oedipus fascist desire is the desire for codes to replace the decoding that frees flows under capitalist axiomatics; such codes would fix subjects to rigid boundaries of thought and action and fix bodies to preestablished patterns of flows, thus attenuating the fascist obsession with erotic perversion.
  Deleuze and Guattari discuss both micro- and macro-fascism in A Thousand Plateaus. Micro-fascism is a cancerous Body without Organs (BwO). The cancerous BwO is the third type of BwO discussed in A Thousand Plateaus, after the 'full' (positively valued in A Thousand Plateaus, though not in Anti-Oedipus, where the full BwO is catatonia), and the 'empty'. The cancerous BwO is the strangest and most dangerous BwO. It is a BwO that belongs to the organism that resides on a stratum, rather than being the limit of a stratum. It is runaway self-duplication of stratification. Such a cancer can occur even in social formations, not just in the strata named organism, significance and subjectification. The key to tracking down fascism lies here in the cancerous BwO, that forms under conditions of runaway stratification, or more precisely, runaway sedimentation, the first 'pincer' of a stratum. By endlessly repeating the selection of homogenised individuals in a process of 'conformity' the cancerous BwO breaks down the stratum on which it lodges: social cloning and assembly-line personalities.
  The cancerous BwO, then, occurs with too much sedimentation, that is, too much content or coding and territorialising, with insufficient overcoding. The result is a cancer of the stratum, a proliferation of points of capture, a proliferation of micro-black holes: thousands of individuals complete unto themselves; legislators and subjects all in one; judge, jury, and executioner - and policeman, private eye, home video operator, the neighbourhood watch organiser. Micro-fascism is then the construction of a 'thousand monomanias' in 'little neighborhood policemen' resulting from 'molecular focuses in interaction . . . rural fascism and city or neighborhood fascism, youth fascism and war veteran's fascism, fascism of the Left and of the Right, fascism of the couple, family, school, and office' (D&G 1987: 214). Such micro-fascisms spread throughout a social fabric prior to the centralising resonance that creates the molar apparatus of the State. In micro-fascism each body is a 'micro-black hole that stands on its own and communicates with the others' (D&G 1987: 228). Although Deleuze and Guattari do not do so, we can call micro-fascism 'molecular molarity': each subjective unit is self-contained, oriented to unity, an individual (molar), but they interact in solely local manner, independently (molecular).
  In contrast to Anti-Oedipus's relative neglect of historical fascism, A Thousand Plateaus devotes at least a few pages to an analysis of historical manifestations of macro-fascism (in its Nazi form rather than its Italian or Spanish forms). The Nazi regime is characterised, following the analyses of Paul Virilio, as a 'suicide state' rather than a totalitarian one, which is 'quintessentially conservative' (D&G 1987: 230; Stalinist USSR is the target here). Here it is not a State army taking power, but a war machine that takes over the institutions of State power. This triggers the last form of the line of flight, the self-immolating, self-destructive line. This reversion of the line of flight to self-destruction had 'already animated the molecular focuses of fascism, and made them interact in a war machine instead of resonating in a State apparatus' (D&G 1987: 231). Such a runaway war machine, once it reaches a consistency enabling it to take over a State apparatus, forms a 'war machine that no longer had anything but war as its object and would rather annihilate its own servants than stop the destruction' (D&G 1987: 231). In A Thousand Plateaus, then, fascism is too fast, a cancer; what we could call, echoing Bataille, a 'solar nihilism', rather than being too slow or the freezing, paranoid, lunar nihilism it is portrayed as in Anti-Oedipus.
  Connectives
   § desire

The Deleuze dictionary. . 2010.

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